Columbines School

  • News & Events:

    Our Instructors and Staff:

    Howie Brounstein has taught botany, herbalism, and wildcrafting extensively for decades, including at such herbal establishments as the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. He is the co-owner and a primary instructor of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and has a clinical practice in Eugene, Oregon. He is well known for his brilliant in depth teaching style and his passionate love of plants.

    Leah Kays Leah is a 2006 graduate of Columbines School of Botanical Studies and has been involved with the school since. She is an herbalist, botanist, and bartender from Portland, Oregon who has moved from a substitute teacher to a full time Columbines instructor.

  • First Year Lecture Syllabus

    This is a sample syllabus from 2023. The upcoming year will cover similar topics, depending on class interest and the field curriculum.

    Field Lectures: Botany and Ecology

    Lecture #1

    • Latin Names
    • Four Whorls of the Flower
    • Leaves and Margins
    • Monocots vs. Dicots
    • Plant List Review
    • Hitchcock in Rain

    Lecture #2

    • Trillium ovatum, Trillium Uses
    • Plant Symmetry
    • Plant List Review
    • Rare, Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plants

    Lecture #3

    • Wildcrafting Checklist
    • Plant List Review

    Lecture #4

    • Plant List Review
    • Underground Parts
    • Eating Wild Foods

    Lecture #5

    • Oregon Grape Root, Mahonia nervosa, Botany, Ecology, and Processing
    • Plant List Review
    • Berberis vs. Mahonia
    • Online Herbaria Searches

    Lecture #6

    With special guest Steven Yeager

    • Plant List Review
    • Orchidaceae
    • Calypso bulbosa

    Lecture #7

    With special guest Alex Payne

    • Ceanothus, Ceanothus spp. Identification, Processing, and Ecology
    • Oregon Old Growth
    • Plant Pressing

    Lecture #8

    • Liliaceae
    • Succession
    • Placentation

    Lecture #9

    • Time Travel (Plant Locating)
    • Perigynous vs. Hypogynous
    • Liliaceae (continued)

    Lecture #10

    • Araceae
    • Iridaceae
    • Ericaceae
    • Vaccinium Chart
    • Kinnikkinnik, Arctostaphylos nevadensis, Ecology
    • Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, Ecology
    • Manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula, Ecology
    • Pyrola, Pyrola spp. Ecology

    Academic Calendar

    Herbal Concepts and Northwest Materia Medica

    Lecture #1

    • Digestive System Overview
    • Bitters

    Herbal Preparations #1

    • Teas
    • Syrups
    • Tincture Making

    Lecture #2

    • Bitters
    • Alteratives

    Lecture #3

    • Alteratives Cont.
    • Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa, Medicinal Uses

    Lecture #4

    • Bitters, Alteratives, and Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa, Review
    • Oregon Grape Root, Mahonia nervosa, Medicinal Uses Cont.
    • Oregon Grape Root, Mahonia nervosa, Preparations
    • Lymphatic System

    Herbal Preparations #2

    • Tinctures Cont.
    • Eyewashes
    • Nose Sprays
    • Made one pint Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea, Root Tincture
    • Yellow Dock, Rumex crispus, Uses
    • Made one pint Yellow Dock, Rumex crispus, Tincture
    • Made one half pint fresh Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium, Root Tincture

    Lecture #5

    • Bitters and Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa, Review
    • Echinacea, Echinacea sp. Uses
    • Ceanothus, Ceanothus sp., Medicinal Uses

    Lecture #6

    • Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa, Review
    • Aromatics
    • Demulcents

    Lecture #7

    With special guest Alex Payne

    • Ceanothus, Ceanothus sp., Review
    • Aromatic Bitter Review
    • Aromatic Bitter Herbs
    • Demulcents Review

    Lecture #8

    • Demulcents Herbs
    • Astringents

    Lecture #9

    • Astringents Cont.
    • Glycosides
    • Urinary Tract
    • Arbutin-like Glycosides
    • Kinnikkinnik, Arctostaphylos nevadensis, Uses

    Herbal Preparations #3

    • Squeezing Tinctures
    • Herbal Oil Preparations
    • Made one half pint Yellow Dock, Rumex crispus, Oil
    • Made one half pint Oregon Grape Root, Mahonia aquifolium, Oil
    • Made one half pint Comfrey Leaf, Symphytum officinale, Oil
    • Made one half pint Yarrow Leaf and Flower, Achillea millefolium, Oil
    • Made one half pint Ceanothus Root, Ceanothus americanus, Tincture

    Lecture #10

    • Astringents Herbs
    • Kinnikkinnik, Arctostaphylos nevadensis, Uses
    • Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, Uses
    • Manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula, Uses
    • Comparison of Ericaceous Urinary Tract Astringents

    Lecture #11

    • Nervines
    • Nervine Herbs

    Lecture #12

    • Diaphoretics
    • Diuretics
    • Alterative, Diaphoretics, Diuretics Herbs

    Lecture #13

    • St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum, Uses
    • Arnica, Arnica mollis, Ecology, Processing, Uses

    Herbal Preparations #4

    • Herbal Preparations
    • Made Marshmallow, Althea officinalis, Syrup

    Lecture #14

    • St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum, Uses and Ecology Cont.
    • Pedicularis spp, Uses
    • PAs and Liver Detoxification Enzymes

    Lecture #15

    • Elephant’s Head, Pedicularis groenlandica, Ecology
    • Parrot’s Beak, Pedicularis racemosa, Ecology
    • Water Hemlock, Cicuta douglasii
    • Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
    • Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, Uses

    Herbal Preparations #5

    • Salve Making Workshop

    Lecture #16

    • Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, Uses Cont.
    • Alcohol Dilution Ratios
    • Oshala, Ligusticum grayi, Uses and Ecology
    • Valerian, Valeriana sitchensis, V. scouleri, Uses and Ecology

    Lecture #17

    • Bedstraw, Galium spp., Uses
    • Herbal Preparations: Bolus, Douche, Electuary, Enema, Compress, Capsules, Liniments, Pills, Poultices, Smoking Herbs, Misc. Extracts

    Lecture #18

    • Oils and Salves Cont.
    • Percolations
    • Made Oshala, Ligusticum grayi, Lozenges
    background image